Editors Keys Edius Dedicated Keyboard Review
Published: Friday, 18 May 2012 06:07
The Edius dedicated keyboard from Editors Keys is a smallish USB keyboard that helps reduce the amount of menu navigation necessary while editing. It's quiet and the color coding is attractive and practical when learning categories of activities and placement on the keyboard. The keyboard has non-slip pads on the bottom and stays in place even when pounded on a bit. This is one of the first keyboards we've reviewed from Editors Keys so we'll report back after extended use on how it holds up.
The keyboard was instantly recognized by our Windows 7 workstation. There's no setup or drivers that need to be installed. Plug it in and start editing. After mousing around in an editing program like Edius it's an adjustment to start using a dedicated keyboard. Yes, all the main menu items are there but you have to learn the location on the keyboard. That takes some time. However, the keys are well labeled, if not a little small, and it's generally a pretty seamless transition.
Editors Keys makes dedicate keyboards for several of the major video and audio editing programs. We tested the Edius version but our comments on the quality of the keyboard should apply to the rest of the lineup as well.
The keyboard is compact in size. it's about 3/4 the size of our trusty Key Tronic keyboard which is still our favorite for writing and office work etc. This is a key point (no pun intended) with limited individual key travel it's less than ideal for writing and daily office tasks on the PC.
For dedicated NLE workstations this is not a concern but for some editors working out of a home studio this keyboard may be connected to a workstation that is also used for invoicing, emails, web....etc., so it will likely either share desk space with another keyboard or replace it all together. The good news is the compact size does make it easy to store the keyboard when it's not needed if it is used in a non-dedicated environment.
If you're looking for a way to speed up your edits and give your suite a more professional feel, dedicated keyboards like this are worth exploring. Eliminating mouse clicks can lead to faster turnaround times which ultimately means happier clients not to mention the ergonomic benefits of a more efficient work flow.
At first glance, you may think Editors Keys is doing ridiculous margins on these keyboards but they tell us because of the colored keys and design these keyboards are actually priced quite aggressively. So, if you find that a dedicated keyboard helps you work smarter and faster, it's money well spent.
Visit Editor Keys for more information and to see the rest of the product lineup.
Zacuto Scorpion Rig Review
Published: Friday, 04 May 2012 00:06
We were impressed with the Zacuto scorpion right out of the box. It’s incredibly well made and designed for professional use. Assembly is easy and intuitive. The entire rig can be easily popped on and off sticks in the field in just seconds. Perfect for dynamic shooting situations and run and gun reality TV. Danny, pictured here, says simply, “combined with the Z-Finder EVF Pro I can shoot all day with this”.
The Scorpion is a game changer for anyone using smaller form factor video camera and professional DSLRs. Anyone using cameras such as the Panasonic HPX250 or AF100, Sony EX3, Canon C300 and 5D Mark III will absolutely love this rig.
We played with the rig using the HPX250. We were able to make jib lke moves with this elegant rig. Really cool moves that just would not be possible in tight quarters are now made easy. All of a sudden limited budget shoots look bigger with better production value because of the addition of the Scorpion to the day's shoot.
We saw a lot of activity at the Zacuto booth at NAB this year and with good reason. This is another great product from Zacuto that is simply expertly designed. You’ll get every bit of your $2k worth out of this rig. Yeah, we're pretty excited about this gear and we'll share more from the field. If you see some really cool moves on the next Restaurant Impossble that's probably Danny using the Zacuto Scorpion.
Visit Zacuto for more information.
Adobe vs. Avid vs. Grass Valley vs. Sony vs. Apple
Published: Thursday, 26 April 2012 05:01
What editing package do you use? What should I buy? Do I have to be an Avid editor to work on films? Is Premiere replacing Final Cut? I hear good things about Vegas. Should I try it? We hear these questions over and over.
Usually you’ll get these questions answered in a very biased way with very little context on how the software package is actually used or what its particular strength and weaknesses actually are. Part of the reason is that it’s difficult for 1 person to have a profound understanding of all the major NLEs and give an objective review. You tend to get a bit biased toward platforms you master. There’s a huge difference between simply getting a project out the door and making something really come to life using a particular NLE.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time with all the major NLEs either as a producer or editor. Sometimes we’ve had the luxury of weeks to work on a project but more often than not it’s about speed and the ability to turn projects very quickly.
In the end, the ability to quickly turn around a quality visual asset has less to do with the tool than the producer’s clear direction and the editor’s mastery of the platform to bring that vision to reality.
Sure, some things are easier in one NLE versus another but aside from high end finishing and post work amazing story telling can be accomplished using tools from Adobe, Avid, Grass Valley, Sony or Apple.
The real decision when choosing an NLE boils down to workflow and the markets you serve, the number of people in the facility and the IT infrastructure. Avid and Final Cut tend to dominate in the larger shared drive model because of established work flows and expertise in dealing with large amounts of data and longer more complex projects.
Premiere is playing a much larger role, especially in design and post houses that likely use a suite of Adobe products already. The Mercury engine and optimization for CUDA cores has made a huge difference. We never would have considered Premiere a few years ago and now it’s gaining serious momentum.
News organizations love Edius. It’s fast, runs on modest systems, is rock solid and easy to use. The USB key is getting long in the tooth and the GUI could use a refresh but we love using Edius. The stability really makes it attractive for in the field, laptop jobs where computing horsepower might be somewhat limited.
Vegas has outstanding audio tools and is another great tool for assembling cuts but has gotten less stable in recent years. Sony has kept pace on features and codec support but needs to make the software more stable.
So again, any of these tools can get the work done but it ultimately depends on the type of job, the turnaround required, and the level of production quality expected. For example, we recently cut several videos in a hotel room during a conference because the videos had to be turned around in 24 hours. The production quality was expected to be broadcast ENG with some titles and minor effects to sex it up a bit. The work could have easily been done on Final Cut, Premiere, Vegas, Edius…etc. However, in this case the editor showed up with Media Composer 6 on his Dell laptop workstation because that’s the software he did his “best and fastest work”. We had another workstation running Edius, Premiere and Vegas.
We worked simultaneously on the project, exchanging work using P2, ProRes and the DNxHD codec. In the end, when looking at the final output it was seamless and it didn’t matter what was cut on which machine and who rendered what. The project got done. The quality was excellent. The client was happy.
Whether we cranked it out in some state of the art facility or holed up in our hotel room didn’t matter. In fact, what was more important than any software we used was our ability to quickly move lots and lots of data from machine to machine, render, FTP, approve, iterations…etc. It’s becoming less about that actual tools being used to make things and more about the IT infrastructure, either fixed or mobile which allows the work to get approved and posted online as fast as possible.
What adobe is doing with the coming rev of Premiere 6 is just a taste of what’s to come. Having access to an army of artists that can crank out amazing product using a temporary cloud model could have a profound impact on the business. Based on the huge crowds last week at NAB Adobe has the community to help it power this new model. And in the end, the platform with the largest community of talented artists will secure more business.
Visit Avid for more information.
Visit Adobe for more information.
Visit Grass Valley for more information.
Visit Sony for more information.
Visit Apple for more information.